Apple on Tuesday redirected some of the tech spotlight away from CES and onto itself when it announced some remarkable numbers regarding the economics of its ever-popular App Store.
Because the App Store is typically associated with low-cost and freemium apps, it's easy to forget the scale to which the App Store is an absolute and unrivaled money-making machine.
To date, Apple has paid out US$15 billion to developers. That's a colossal figure no matter how you look at it, but it's all the more impressive when you consider that more than half of it was paid out in 2013 alone.
In January of 2013, Apple indicated that it had cumulatively paid developers $7 billion. By January of 2014, that figure rose to $15 billion. The takeaway from these figures is astounding: During the last calendar year, Apple more than doubled the cumulative amount paid to developers during the preceding 4.5 years combined.
Analysts can talk all they want about the potential for a slowdown in iOS sales, but it's hard to argue with cold, hard data that makes it abundantly clear that the App Store continues to experience absolutely explosive growth.
From January 2013 to January 2014, Apple paid out $8 billion to developers. That comes out to $21.91 million in developer payouts every single day.
To add some historical context, below is a chart and listing of Apple payouts to developers over time. Note that it took Apple nearly two whole years to reach its first $1 billion threshold.
Cumulative Apple payouts to developers
July 2008 - App Store opens for business
June 2010 - $1 billion
July 2011 - $2.5 billion
January 2012 - $4 billion
June 2012 - $5 billion
January 2013 - $7 billion
June 2013 - $10 billion
October 2013 - $13 billion
January 2014 - $15 billion